22 March 2010

University of Queensland student actors will never be far from Geoffrey Rush, as UQ is naming a key drama space after its most famous thespian son.

From this month, the old Cement Box Theatre at UQ's St Lucia campus becomes the Geoffrey Rush Drama Studio, in recognition of the graduate who now wears acting's coveted "Triple Crown" (Academy, Emmy & Tony Awards).

Mr Rush said he was "delighted and honoured" at the acknowledgment from his alma mater, where he began performing in student productions four decades ago.

After a $1.2 million transformation, the studio is a training space for Drama students in the UQ Bachelor of Arts and students in UQ's new Bachelor of Creative Arts. The first production in the space will be Dead Hands/Black Section by Australian writer Van Badham.

Underground, a student drama group that formerly used the Cement Box, moves above ground into the main Schonell Theatre, but will retain storage space next to the Geoffrey Rush Drama Studio.

UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Greenfield said that, as 2010 was UQ’s Centenary, it was timely to celebrate how graduates such as Geoffrey Rush had projected themselves, the University, Queensland and Australia on the global stage.

“Geoffrey Rush started at UQ in the 1970s with another young actor who has since achieved fame on stage and screen, Bille Brown,” Professor Greenfield said.

“Queensland now has UQ’s Geoffrey Rush Drama Studio and the Queensland Theatre Company’s Bille Brown Studio – both named after UQ graduates who have brought recognition to Australia and Queensland as places where creativity flourishes.

“UQ’s intention for the new century is to continue its vigorous roles of nurturing talent and promoting research, scholarship and performance in the creative arts,” Professor Greenfield said.

Media: Professor Joanne Tompkins, School of English, Media Studies and Art History, telephone 07 3365 1435.